By Blair Baumgartner
WARSAW — The Blue Apron is a student-run full-service restaurant located in the Warsaw Area Career Center at Warsaw Community High School.
The restaurant offers students grades nine through 12 the opportunity to garner real-world experience in culinary arts and running a full-service restaurant.
“I’ve learned so much here. It’s helped me get a job,” said senior Christian Long. “I’ve never had an experience where I could learn so much within a three-hour period. I’m absorbing so much knowledge and information. It’s a once in a lifetime experience and it’s something I’ll never forget.
“This experience is going to stick with me the rest of my life,” he said.
Senior Kaylee Clark said, “It really helps you open up as a person. I started off really shy. And so, as time went on, especially with hands-on experiences like this, I really opened up. It helped me get my job in retail because you have to be really talkative with people and this has been really helpful.
“It’s helped me come out of my shell. I’m a shy person, too,” echoed Shelly Creighton, a junior. “I’ve learned new things I never thought I would learn. Serving has helped me talk to people. It’s really helped me love what I do here and has been really empowering.”
“The food is delicious,” said Kerry Stogsdill, a diner who works in the school’s technology department. “It gives the students an opportunity to see if this is a career, something they might like to do. The Warsaw Area Career Center gives students different career opportunities to explore.”
Senior Taten Faulkner chronicled his experience in the program. “This is actually my final year here, which still surprises me. I wish it weren’t.
“Culinary is more eye opening than you think. What flavors can you put together? If you’re given these items, what can you make out of them? We have burger specials, chef’s specials, dessert specials that we’ve created.
“We have to think about what recipes we want to use at different stations. My group started in chef line. As part of our burger special, we added to the recipe for our bison burger from last year. It sold like crazy. More people are coming in everyday.
“You don’t realize how in depth you go when you take this class,” he said. “You get to learn about service and how to respond to different situations. There is a lot of problem solving.
“We basically make almost everything in house. This gives us real-world experience. It also give us life skills as well as business and communication skills. We don’t do the same thing every day. It’s a very nice high-end restaurant experience.”
Gloria Medina is a past participant in the program. “I came back to visit after graduating and participating in The Blue Apron to see people I am familiar with and see how they’re doing,” she said. “They are like family. I plan on studying nutrition at Ivy Tech.”
Chef Mark Bragg is in his ninth year helping oversee the student-run restaurant. “The students can earn dual credit with Ivy Tech. By the time they’re done with the program, they can earn up to 14 credits.
“We are currently in the developmental phase of a pilot program called ‘The Capstone Program’ in partnership with Ivy Tech. It will be a work-based learning program where they can earn up to nine additional credits.”
The Blue Apron is open from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays. Customers can enter Door 10A at the career center.
The restaurant takes pre-orders or dine in.
Reservations can also be made for your group. If you have changes to your order, cancellation or special instructions, email [email protected].
For more information, visit warsaw.k12.in.us/o/wacc/page/the-blue-apron.